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December 10, 2012

Jaguars DC talks to UW's Alvarez

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - If Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has any interest in coaching his alma mater, he's keeping it tight-lipped.

Tucker said Monday he spoke to Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez on Friday, but insisted that "there's really no news there."

Alvarez is looking to replace Bret Bielema, who left last week to take the head job at Arkansas.

Tucker's name has come up as Bielema's potential replacement, mostly because he played for Wisconsin (1992-95), has NFL experience and a close relationship with Alvarez.

"Well, there's not an interest on my part at this time," Tucker said. "So that's kind of where it is right now. But, yeah, I have talked to coach, coach Alvarez."

When asked whether Alvarez offered him the job, Tucker said "absolutely not."

"I was in his first recruiting class in 1990, so I'm very close with coach Alvarez and we've stayed in touch over the years and we talk from time to time," Tucker said. "But there's nothing there really to report, and it's nothing more than that."

Tucker started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1997 under Nick Saban. He also served as an assistant at Miami (Ohio) in 1999, LSU (2000) and Ohio State (2001-04) before moving to the NFL. He was Cleveland's defensive backs coach from 2005 through 2007 before getting promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008. He has been Jacksonville's defensive coordinator since 2009. He also served as the team's interim head coach for the final five games last season.

The Jaguars (2-11) rank 31st in total defense this season, a disappointing performance that has some outsiders calling for Tucker to be fired. But Jacksonville, which visits Miami on Sunday, has played all season without starting linebackers Daryl Smith and Clint Session, has been banged up in the secondary and doesn't have a top-flight pass rusher.

"I've got my hands full right here," Tucker said. "We're just going to take it one day at a time."

When asked whether he would like to be a college head coach, Tucker said "that has not been part of my thinking. That's really not my focus right now. Really, right now, it's all about Miami."

"Really, right now, I don't have a preference in terms of any of that right now," he added. "It really comes down to this football team right now, today, and then we'll just go from there. There's really no news there."

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